Lybrate Logo
Get the App
For Doctors
Consult Online
Book Appointment
Ask a Question
Plan my Surgery
Health Feed
Health Feed
Find Doctors

Hormonal Imbalance: Symptoms, Causes, Test, Treatment and Diet

Last Updated: Sep 21, 2021

Topic Image

What is hormonal imbalance?

Hormonal imbalance is a condition that occurs due to high or low levels of hormones in the bloodstream. When hormones are imbalanced, your entire body can be affected. Hormones are produced in the endocrine glands. Hormonal problems can be faced by male and females. Different factors are responsible for this and it can put several roadblocks in the realization of a healthy body and a healthy mind.

In women, hormone levels can fluctuate during puberty, menopause or perimenopause. A man can also experience hormonal imbalance when they go through the male menopause phase or when they experience age-related hormonal shift called andropause.

Hormones like estrogen, testosterone, insulin and adrenaline affect the proper functioning of our body. These hormones, secreted from different organs, work together to regulate the different processes in our body. Imbalance of even one hormone can cause a host of health issues. Imbalance of different hormones can cause different side effects.

What are the 5 Hormonal Imbalances?<

Although the endocrine sys­tem secretes over 50 dif­fer­ent hor­mones through­out your body, there are five most com­mon hormonal imbal­ances in both men and women. They are:

  1. Cor­ti­sol:

    The hor­mone is pro­duced by adren­al gland which reg­u­late blood sug­ar, metab­o­lism, etc. Cortisol can also be described as the ​‘stress hor­mone'. Mostly the hormone released tem­porar­i­ly shuts down your diges­tion and repro­duc­tion systems in case the mind finds the situation stressful or being under threat.

  2. Estro­gen:

    It is known as one of the key hormones that regulate all the sexual arousal and hor­mones in women. Surprisingly, men also have estro­gen, but in a very small quantity. In both women and men, estro­gen reg­u­lates cho­les­terol and bone health.

    In women, estro­gen is respon­si­ble for the phys­i­cal changes like:

    • Balancing the men­stru­al cycle especially during early adolescence.
    • Sup­port­ing your bones heart and mood dur­ing preg­nan­cy.
  3. Insulin:

    The hor­mone is pro­duced by the pan­creas which helps the mus­cles to absorb glu­cose. Insulin also works as a blood sug­ar dissolver.

  4. Prog­es­terone:

    The hor­mone is gen­er­al­ly known to be present only in women, but men also have prog­es­terone as well. In women, prog­es­terone is cru­cial part in the managing ear­ly stages of pregnancy and daily routine period flow. For men, prog­es­terone is responsible for bal­ances the effects of estro­gen and its effects on fertility in the body.

  5. Testos­terone:

    It is responsible for regulating sexual hormones in men. While women possess the same, they produce a small­er amount of it. Normally, it's not necessary that women will expe­ri­ence activities that testos­terone performs in a male body. In men, testos­terone is responsible for supporting the phys­i­cal changes like gen­i­tal growth, body hair, voice, and mus­cles development, etc. On the other hand, In women, testos­terone helps to support repro­duc­tive tissue and overall bone health.

Symptoms of a hormonal imbalance

The hormonal imbalance depends on the degree of a specific hormone which is out of balance. The common symptoms that may be experienced during hormonal imbalance are:

Hormonal imbalances in women

Many women naturally experience hormonal issues throughout lifetime like during their puberty, menstruation, childbirth, pregnancy, breastfeeding, perimenopause or postmenopause.

The most common hormones whose levels fluctuate are estrogen and progesterone in women. This happens primarily due to overuse of birth control pills, undergoing a lot of stress and also overuse of cosmetics.

Symptoms of hormonal imbalance in women

Hormonal imbalance can have the worst effect on the body as it can increase the number of health issues and diseases. The symptoms are:

  • Periods flow: heavy or irregular and sometimes can be a missed periods
  • Acne issue on face, chest or upper back
  • Hair loss
  • Skin darkening
  • Vaginal Dryness
  • Vaginal atrophy
  • Pain during sexual activity
  • Sweat at night
  • Excess of hair growth on different body parts
  • Osteoporosis - weak or brittle bones
  • Breast tenderness
  • Constipation and diarrhoea
  • Infertility
  • Weight gain
  • Clitoral enlargement
  • Deepening of the voice

Causes of hormonal imbalance in women

Mostly, females are at risk of hormonal disorder than males because they have endocrine organs and cycle. Below are some of the causes of irregular hormonal imbalance:

  • Hormone replacement or birth control
  • Early menopause
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
  • Primary ovarian insufficiency (POI)
  • Ovarian cancer

Does Hormonal Imbalance affect periods?

Yes, a lower level of estrogen and progesterone production in the body may lead to irregular periods and Hormonal Imbalance up to the level of cervical cancer. The low production of both of the hormones will imbalance the ovaries to stop releasing eggs. This creates an imbalance in the regulate period cycle, developing situations like:

  • Delay or early menstruation.
  • Blood flow fluctuation.
  • Shooting pain in the lower abdomen.

On the other hand, high levels of estrogen may put them at higher risk of blood clots and stroke. Estrogen dominance increases can cause symptoms such as fatigue and weight changes and your chances of thyroid dysfunction.


Hormonal imbalances in men

Testosterone imbalance in men leads to thinner, shorter hair or in some cases, hair loss. Apart from the above mentioned treatments, other remedies include over the counter supplements to balance hormones, dietary changes, taking on less stress, exercising more, sleeping more and even taking prescription medicines.

Symptoms of hormonal imbalance in men

Men also experience a natural cycle of hormonal imbalance during their lifetime. Testosterone plays an important role in development. Hormonal imbalance can occur in men at the time of puberty or ageing. Hormonal imbalance symptoms in men are:

  • Breast tightness
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Muscle atrophy
  • Low sperm production
  • Loss of hairs from the beard
  • Osteoporosis
  • Difficulty in concentrating
  • A Sudden feeling of warmth

Causes of hormonal imbalance in men

Men also experience a different hormonal imbalance during their lifetime than women as the have completely different cycles and endocrine organs. Below are some of the causes of irregular hormonal imbalance in men:

  • Natural causes: Puberty and Aging
  • Medical conditions:: Prostate cancer, Hypogonadism (low testosterone)

Causes of a hormonal imbalance

The causes of hormonal imbalance may vary to the specific symptoms involved. In general, hormonal imbalance occurs due to changes in a hormone-producing gland. There are various causes of hormonal imbalance and each cause may relate to the different glands, so does it impact on your body. Some of the common causes are:

  • Diabetes either Type 1 & 2
  • Thyroid- Hypothyroidism & Hyperthyroidism
  • Hormonal therapy
  • Tumors - benign or cancerous
  • Congenital adrenal hyperplasia
  • Eating disorder
  • Medication
  • Stress
  • Cushing syndrome
  • Injury or trauma
  • Tumour in the pituitary gland
  • Adrenal insufficiency
  • Treatment of cancer

What are the hormonal imbalance tests?

Diagnosis is performed to detect hormonal imbalances. Hormonal imbalances can be detected from its symptoms. Hormone levels can be cross-checked through some blood tests. A blood test detects the level of estrogen, testosterone, cortisol and thyroid. As per the symptoms, your doctor may suggest an ultrasound to check the pituitary gland, thyroid, uterus, testicles and ovaries.

Folowing tests will be performed based on the symptoms to detect hormonal imbalances.:

  • Blood test: Hormone levels can be cross-checked through some blood tests. A blood test detects the level of estrogen, testosterone, cortisol and thyroid.
  • Pelvic exam: Doctos perform pap smear test to detect tumors or cysts.
  • Ultrasound: As per the symptoms, your doctor may suggest an ultrasound to check the pituitary gland, thyroid, uterus, testicles and ovaries.

Doctors may also perform the following tests as per the requirement:

  • Biopsy
  • Thyroid
  • X-ray
  • MRI
  • Sperm count

What doctor do you see for Hormone Imbalance?

In case of any sort of Hormonal Imbalance, one should seek medical aid from an “Endocrinologist”.

Endocrinology is the field that studies hormone-related diseases. A normal human has approximately fifty different hormones that can exist in very small amounts and still significantly impact bodily functions.

An Endocrinologist diagnoses hormones that maintain sensory perception, respiration, growth, regulate metabolism, reproduction, and movement. Studies have shown that Hormone Imbalances are one of the most common reasons to detect when it comes to major underlying diseases. An endocrinologist diagnoses and treats hormone problems and complications associated with them.

How hormonal imbalance is treated?

Treatment for hormonal imbalance will depend on the cause. Every individual may require different treatment for hormonal imbalance. Treatment option for hormone imbalance includes:

  • Estrogen therapy:

    If you are facing symptoms of menopause like hot flashes, your doctor may suggest a low dose of estrogen. Just be sure to discuss the risk and benefits of hormone replacement therapy with your doctor.

  • Vaginal estrogen:

    People experiencing vaginal dryness or pain at the time of sexual intercourse, it is related to the changes in the level of estrogen. You may want to apply cream, tablet or ring to the vaginal tissue to reduce symptoms. This local therapy treatment may avoid many risks related to systemic estrogen that travels throughout the bloodstream to a suitable organ.

  • Hormonal birth control:

    If you’re trying to get pregnant, hormonal birth control can help regulate menstrual cycles. Types of hormonal birth control include: For those who are trying to get pregnant, the hormonal birth control can help to regulate the menstrual cycles and symptoms. The type of hormonal birth control is:

    • Vaginal ring
    • Birth control pills
    • Intrauterine device (IUD)
    • Birth control shot
    • Birth control patch
  • Anti-androgen medications:

    Medications that block the male sex hormone that are present in both women and men. The women with high androgen levels may choose to take medication that blocks the effect of androgen-like:

    • Facial hair growth
    • Hair loss
    • Acne
  • Metformin:

    A medication for type 2 diabetes that may help women with the symptoms of PCOS. The medication helps to manage and lower the sugar level and encourage ovulation.

  • Testosterone therapy:

    It is injectable via patch or gel. Testosterone helps to reduce the symptoms of hypogonadism. In adolescents with delayed puberty, it stimulates the start of puberty.

  • Thyroid hormone therapy:

    In people with an underactive thyroid, the synthetic thyroid hormone levothyroxine (Levothroid, Levoxyl, Synthroid, Unithroid) can fetch hormone levels back into balance.

  • Flibanserin (Addyi) and bremelanotide (Vyleesi):

    The FDA- approved medicine for the treatment of low sexual desire in premenopausal women are Addyi and Vyleesi. The medication is self-administered injectable. This medication may have serious side effects such as nausea and changes in blood pressure. Consult your doctor immediately if you see any side-effect of medication.

  • Eflornithine (Vaniqa):

    It is prescribed cream designed especially for excessive facial hair in women. It is applied topically to the skin and helps to slow the new hair growth but doesn’t get rid of existing hairs.

Can Hormone Imbalance cure itself?

The Hormonal Imbalance cannot be cured if it is in a severe stage. In some cases, the imbalance is so minute that one might not even feel it. It can be cured on its own with some care. In the second stage of imbalance, where the imbalance is not able to cure its own, one might feel physical; changes like:

  • Acne on different body parts.
  • Fatigue.
  • Hot flashes.
  • Dehydration.
  • Decreased sex drive.
  • Imbalanced hair growth.

At this point, the problem is easy to cure through some lifestyle alteration like a healthy diet or physical exercise. The third stage of Hormonal Imbalance will worsen the above symptoms and lead to a more critical health situation. One must seek an Endocrinologist in the case of:

  • Extensive hair fall or growth.
  • Uncontrollable acne.
  • Decreased or increased sex drive.
  • Fitiaque.
  • Swelling.
  • The hump of fat between the shoulders.
  • Sudden and muscle aches, massive weight loss, and stiffness.
  • Stiffness, pain, or swelling in your joints.
  • Inconsistent heart rate.

Are there any side effects?

Hormone replacement therapy can increase the risks of heart disease and stroke, cause blood clots to form, cause gallbladder problems and breast issues. It may also cause bloating, headache and hot flashes.

Oral birth control pills can increase resistance to insulin and abnormal intolerance to glucose. This may put the person at risk of developing Type-2 diabetes.

What are the post-treatment guidelines?

A person taking medications to treat hormonal imbalance will have to make the corresponding changes in his/her lifestyle to achieve the best results. The treatment for hormonal imbalance is generally a long term process and there are no such post-treatment guidelines.

However, sleeping well, exercising and having healthy foods can go a long way in alleviating hormonal imbalance in both men and women.

What are the complications associated with hormonal imbalance?

Sometimes complications can arise due to hormonal imbalance not because of symptoms. The common cause of a hormonal disorder comes from diabetes, thyroid issues, glandular issues and tumour.

Specifically, in women, it indicates early menopause, polycystic ovary syndrome, ovarian cancer. In the male, it may lead to the condition of prostate cancer.

Do consult your doctor immediately if you see any new or unusual symptoms. Always keep a track of changes, as this is helpful when you have to describe to your doctors. Complications associated with the hormonal disorder are:

  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart Disease
  • Neuropathy
  • Obesity
  • Sleep apnea
  • Kidney damage
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Breast cancer or Endometrial Cancer
  • Osteoporosis
  • Infertility
  • Sexual Dysfunction

Is Hormonal Imbalance bad?

Yes, the human body is made of a different chemical compound, known as hormones. Fluctuation in the amount of the hormonal level may lead to various problems. From Small symptoms like muscle ache to major health diseases like:

  • Diabetes (type 1 and type 2).
  • Heart disease.
  • High cholesterol.
  • Infertility.
  • Diabetes insipidus.
  • Sleep apnea.
  • High blood pressure.
  • Neuropathy.
  • Obesity.

One of the most life-threatening parts of Hormonal Imbalance is not the surface symptom but also what it may lead to. For instance, common causes of a Hormonal Imbalance like thyroid issues can also cause tumors.

In the case of women, the imbalance can trigger medical conditions like early menopause, and in serious cases, it can lead to cancer too. In men, a Hormone Imbalance could indicate several conditions, including prostate cancer.

How long does it take to recover?

A person who has changed his diet and his lifestyle will generally require some time before he/she can understand the good effects. Hormonal changes do not take place suddenly and it will take time for the hormone levels to reach their normal levels even after taking medications.

It takes a person about three months to feel the full effects of hormone replacement therapy. The recovery period, hence, will vary from person to person and also depend on the severity of the hormonal imbalance.

What is the price of the treatment in India?

15 tablets of anti-androgen or testosterone blockers cost around Rs 25 in India. A person may have to take one daily if there is an imbalance in his testosterone levels. Therefore, the monthly cost comes to around Rs 50 per month. One sheet of estrogen tablets cost around Rs 300.

Other hormone replacement therapy medications generally cost around Rs 100 for a week’s dose. Birth control pills generally cost between Rs 100 – Rs 500. Antidepressants are available within a price range of Rs 18 – Rs 3000.

Are the results of the treatment permanent?

Stress is one of the primary causes why men/women suffer from hormonal dysfunction. Stress results in increase in the production of cortisol that causes the depletion of progesterone. Poor gut health can impede the production of sex hormones, adrenal hormones and thyroid hormones.

Manifestations of poor gut health include constipation, diarrhea, bloating, reflux and gas. Furthermore, malfunctioning of the thyroid gland can also cause hormonal imbalance. Thus, even if a person has undergone treatment for hormonal imbalance, he/she can experience the same problem if he/she suffers from stress, gastric or thyroid problems.

What is the best diet for hormonal imbalances?

A healthy diet can go a long way in treating hormonal imbalance in both men and women. When it comes to change in hormonal level, we usually forget to keep a check on our diet as the remedy. However, there are certain foods that actually help out in balancing the body hormones and are also helpful in improving the overall health of individuals without any medications.

Consuming foods rich in healthy fats like coconut oil, grass-fed butter, avocados and salmon help to treat hormonal imbalance. Adaptogen herbs not only help a person to balance hormones but also protect him/her against various diseases. Ashwagandha is one such herb. Breathing exercises and acupuncture help a person to get relief from stress and thus help to restore hormonal balance.

Below foods may help you to keep your hormones in balance the natural way:

  • Avocado
  • Flaxseed
  • Broccoli
  • Pomegranate
  • Salmon
  • Leafy greens
  • Nuts
  • Soy
  • Turmeric
  • Quinoa

Foods to avoid to help hormonal imbalances:

Below are some of the unhealthy food diet to avoid, if dealing with the hormonal disorder:

  • High-fructose corn syrup
  • Packed food
  • Artificial sweetener
  • Alcohol
  • Fat- free milk

Foods to eat to help hormonal imbalances:

Having foods rich in zinc helps to manage the level of testosterone. People should include omega-3 fatty acids in their diet as they help in the production of healthy cell membranes.

Healthy cell membranes ensure that the hormones reach the intended cells in the body. Estrogen levels can be maintained by taking in lots of fiber. Below are some of the healthy food diet to consume, if dealing with the hormonal disorder:

  • Soy
  • Broccoli
  • Chickpeas
  • Sour Cherries
  • Chicken Breast

What are the bare vitamins to take for Hormonal Imbalance?

Not every vitamin can cure all Hormonal Imbalances, so it is important to see a medical professional before consuming any course of vitamins. Although, here is the list of vitamin that is commonly recommended by doctors for the minor Hormonal Imbalance:

  • Vitamin D:

    Deficiency of vitamin D is often associated with an autoimmune thyroid disorder. Research shows that consumption of vitamin D and A supplements can help you regulate your blood sugar, insulin, and thyroid level more effectively.

  • Vitamin B6:

    Optimum amount of B6 supplement can do wonders during PMS! Vitamin B6 helps to synthesize the neurotransmitters that are responsible for balancing your mood swings.

  • Vitamin E:

    The vitamin can help alleviate many common menopausal symptoms, like night sweats, insomnia, palpitations, hot flashes, and vaginal dryness.

  • Niacin:

    Known as one of the B-complex vitamins (B3) that helps an individual to relax and have a sound sleep. B3 relaxes helps in decreasing stress in muscle tissue which widens the arteries. This increases blood flow in the body. If taken in the prescribed amount, B3 can reduce stress and anxiety level.

What can I drink to balance my hormones?

Keeping one hydrated is key to a healthy body. There are many beverages available in the market for you to sip and consume, yet only some will help you to balance your hormones. Drinks one can adapt during Hormonal Imbalance are:

  • Green tea.
  • Fresh fruit juices.
  • Fresh vegetable juice.
  • Fruit-infused water.
  • Milk, shakes, and anything protein-rich.

Although while preparing the beverages or purchasing them, one must avoid these elements like:

  • Refined sugars ( instated use alternatives like jaggery, honey, or maple syrup).
  • Carbonated drinks.
  • Trans fat and calorie content ( especially in protein-rich drinks).

Natural remedies to treat hormone imbalances

A hormonal balancing diet needs the right food to optimize the level of blood sugar and insulin. Below are a certain way to treat hormonal disorder naturally:

  • Minimize or eliminate the usage of sugar:

    Sugar keeps the insulin level high and other hormones out-of-balance and it paves the way for the insulin resistance. Increase in inflammation can result due to the food sensitivities like intolerance of gluten. It can also contribute to hormonal imbalances.

  • Balance out your stress level:

    Chronic stress is all- around not a good for hormonal balance. To improve the level of insulin medication practice is necessary. You can also do yoga, deep breathing to de-stress yourself and you can look for options also to see what works best for you.

  • Address toxicity:

    Our body is always surrounded by many chemicals. These chemicals are present everywhere, the air we breathe, the food we eat or the products which we apply on our skin. Some of these chemicals misbehave with hormones as they interfere with hormonal production and create damage.

  • Get good sleep:

    Many hormones including ghrelin and cortisol are impacted by the irregular sleep cycle of an individual. Sleep disturbance can cause many problems like hormonal imbalances. Proper sleep can routine can naturally control the hormones. Men benefit more from sleeping well as their body produces testosterone during the REM cycle of sleep

  • Exercise regularly:

    Exercise can help to boost the growth of hormones and at the same time, a proper diet, nutrients and lifestyle play a role in balancing the hormones naturally.

What is the best exercise for Hormone Balance?

Fitness experts recommend a combination of strength workouts to boost hormone levels. One can try out high-intensity exercises like:

  • Squats.
  • Crunches.
  • Lunges.
  • Pull-ups.
  • Pushups.

With minimal rest time in between, these exercises are ideal, to boost up your hormonal level. The more intense it will be, the more your hormones are going to release. Keeping the fitness regime can be beneficial if it has consistency. It promotes a healthy flow of hormones all over the body.

Is exercise good for Hormonal Imbalance?

Often patients turn to medications and extra supplements to treat health issues associated with hormones like depression, weight gain, stress, sleep deprivation, and mood swings. Yet, the most fruitful way to balance your hormones lies in making exercise your daily routine. Health experts recommend exercise as the best way to regulate Hormonal Imbalances. Here is the list of some hormones that can be balanced with regular exercise and physical activity

  1. Dopamine:

    Studies have shown that dopamine levels in the brain can also be increased via physical exercise which aids daily life anxiety, stress, and even depression. This chemical is known for its famous “runners-high” reaction because it enhances your mood instantly.

  2. Serotonin:

    Exercise can help increase your serotonin and aids the recovery of sleep apnea and insomnia. During physical activity, serotonin can also be increased which helps to regulate the body for a good night’s rest. Increased serotonin levels can also boost your mood, appetite, digestion, memory, and sexual function, etc.

  3. Testosterone:

    As a man grows, the amount of testosterone gradually decreases. However, engaging in regular physical activity can elevate testosterone levels, which keep you young and keep up the internal system healthy.

  4. Estrogen:

    The symptoms of menopause are driven by the imbalance of estrogen, it might not affect the whole procedure but the hormone plays a crucial part in women’s bodies. Creating an active physical life helps you boost estrogen levels, which slows the process of menopause symptoms.

Summary: As the name suggests, Hormonal Imbalance can be described as fluctuation in an individual hormonal system that causes an imbalance in other bodily functions. Prolong imbalance often affects the body and causes serious medical conditions.

Popular Questions & Answers

View All

I am 30 year old and married, not pregnant, not...


Dr. Akanksha Bansal


If you still have pcos, hormonal imbalance can cause insulin resistance and androgen excess which...

I'm 27 years old. I am a smoker since last 6-7 ...


Dr. Saranya Devanathan


Dear Saikat, The doctor might have diagnosed a mood disorder in addition to your nicotine dependa...

My wife depress and worries for nothing, someti...


Dr. Phani Ram Vavila


Seems she is having relapse of symptoms. It is common in mood disorders to have episodic relapses...

Myself manish sharma, 39 years old from srigang...


Ms. Rajeshwari Murlidharan


Hi. It seems like there is trauma from your father's death that hasn't been processed. Thepray ca...

Hello doctor, I have pcod, doctor given me met ...


Dr. Girish Dani


Pcos is a disease where there is a hormonal imbalance. Depending on your complaints, examination,...